Tanya Loretta Dee had the courage a few days ago to speak out, name and challenge an unacceptable hateful behaviour she experienced in her bus in London. Boris Johnson’s own words and behaviour encourage this sort of incident.

First published in February 2020.

So last night I logged an act of racism with the London Met Police. I have no idea what to do in these situations, and I feel like this is something I am going to experience again and soon.

On a bus home last night, three white men get on and literally start picking on people who are not white. Asking questions like “When are you going home?”, “Do you speak English?”, “Where are you from?”, “How do you feel about going home? Yeah, I’ll visit you there!”

They ask a black elderly old lady how she feels about leaving the EU. She doesn’t answer. They laugh in her face. One asks me how I feel about leaving the EU. I tell him to “Just stop”, and I ask “Why don’t you just enjoy leaving the EU in a kind way?”

He laughs in my face and says “It’s a good job. Your English is good, love.” He turns to another woman – when she says she is Portuguese, he says, “Sorry what? Can’t understand you, speaking to quick like blahblahpffpffpff...”

A white woman gets up to get off the bus. He says, “Ah, why you getting off, love. This isn’t about you. Aren’t you happy we are out the EU?” She laughs. He says, “You don’t have to pretend anymore, it’s okay now. You look like me.”

This carries on for AGES. No one says anything. I am looking around for support but nobody says anything. People are scared. Look at their phones, or just laugh uncomfortably. I recorded a bit on my phone to show the police.

I also worry because the police haven’t got back to me.

Where are these men now, and are they still feeling empowered to be hateful to ANYONE who is not white?

I have never seen anyone being happy to be so hateful.

It is SCARY.

I cried a lot last night and am still very hurt. I feel like I have to prepare myself for future incidents. The reality: a fresh wave of racism is here.

If you see stuff like this, and you are able to do so – please speak up, or support those around you who are unable to speak when attacks like this are aimed at them.

I asked the woman next to me if she was okay, she smiled, and shrugged like it was nothing, and looked out the window. So what? We have to just accept this now?

I wanted to share this, for solidarity, and to confirm to anyone in denial – people ARE using leaving the EU to express their racist views. I know a lot of us know this, but some people are still in this other fairy tale narrative.

I have had an automated email from the police. They said they will take a few days to get back to me with a phone call. I hope the CCTV footage is not deleted by then.


Update: I just spoke to the police on the phone and it is forward with an official proceed. CCTV footage from the bus has been applied for and descriptions given. I didn’t know it but apparently buses have no audio recording. Lucky I have some video-audio of the last two minutes.

Tweets posted on 3 February 2020 by @TanyaLorettaDee.

If you experience or witness a hate incident in the street, in the public transport, at school or at work, do report it. Find out how to report it on the Citizens Advice website.

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 3 February 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Pixabay.)